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Distinguished Lecture Series

CSE Colloquium Series  

Automating Engineering Design and Scientific Inquiry

Josh Bongard

Cornell University

Date:  Thursday, March 30, 2006
Time: 10:00am-11:00am
Place: 3105 Engineering

Host: Joyce Chai



Abstract: One common theme running through most domains of computer science is automation; my research focuses on automating aspects of engineering design and scientific inquiry. In my PhD work I developed an algorithm that integrates evolutionary and developmental processes to automatically optimize and "grow" robot morphologies and neural controllers together such that the resulting robot can perform a desired task. This work uses simulated genetic regulatory networks (GRNs) to guide the growth process, and can be used to generate hypotheses about how biological GRNs might have evolved in response to various selection pressures. In my current postdoctoral work I have demonstrated an algorithm that runs onboard a robot and allows it to autonomously synthesize models of itself and its environment, using self-created exploratory actions. I will survey this work, describe how it is being applied in systems biology, machine learning, robotics, cognitive science, medical diagnosis and civil engineering domains, and outline my plans for future research.
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Biography: Not available